A civil war is raging within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress said on Saturday.
Responding to Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's hard-hitting interview to a news magazine, senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said: “The truth is coming out now,” even as party spokesperson Manish Tewari stressed that the race for the prime ministerial candidate had begun in the BJP.
Ms. Swaraj's interview, Mr. Ahmed said, was proof that there was a “civil war” raging in the BJP. He also recalled that when there was talk of replacing B.S. Yeddyurappa as Karnataka Chief Minister, he said that if that happened, he would reveal the names of all BJP leaders he had helped, as well as all those the Reddy brothers had helped in Delhi. Ms. Swaraj's comments did not reflect policy differences, but jockeying for power in the BJP, he said.
Ms. Swaraj has accused party colleagues of patronising the Reddy brothers, while distancing herself from their induction as Ministers in the Yeddyurappa cabinet.
Mr. Tewari said: “Ms. Swaraj's assertions once again underscore the fundamental reality of the BJP — that money talks and Yeddyurappa and Reddy walk. While Karnataka burns with corruption, the Neros of BJP fiddle in Delhi.”
He also pointed out that it was immaterial whether Ms. Swaraj or Messrs Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Venkaiah Naidu — as she alleged — were responsible for the appointment of the Reddy brothers. “The question is not who opposed Yeddyurappa and Reddy. The question is why they were appointed at all. The BJP must tell the nation why it dances to the tune of Yeddyurappa and Reddy?”
Taking a swipe at senior BJP leader L K Advani — when asked whether the BJP's political compulsions in appointing the Reddy brothers were related to its efforts to come to power at the Centre — Mr. Tewari said: “A prime minister-in-waiting in the BJP continues to be in the waiting list since 2004. But the waiting list may get longer by 2014. But the BJP has not realised that the train of power will not halt at its station.”